Anton Lander finished his first season with the Edmonton Oilers with mixed results. While his postional play was respectable on the ice, the numbers were lacking in his first NHL season. He got into 56 contests, tallying twice and finishing with 6 points before spending the rest of the year in Oklahoma City. Lander will never be a prolific goal scorer on the Oilers, but he needs to feel comfortable enough in his own game to make enough of an offensive contribution to help the team win games.
Lander is a player that will need to be monitored closely this upcoming season. The Oilers don’t have a dearth of centers they could run through. They have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger for the time being. I believe Belanger and Lander will be battling it out for the 4th line center spot. If the competition is close, I believe the spot should go to Lander. If Lander proves not to be ready then the spot should go to Belanger, but Lander should be given a long look in the preseason to make the club. Let’s not forget this club is still rebuilding. Lander is the projected future 3rd line center for the Oilers and the smoother the transition, the better off the Oilers will be in the future.
Lots of talk about who will become the dynamic duos on the Oilers. One duo that can’t be forgotten and needs to be given the chance to emerge is Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander. It may not become a dynamic offensive line, but it can become a line that can dominate through two-way play.
If I Could Grant One Wish – Faith: Lander waded into the shallow end of the NHL pool and found it a little cold. This year is more about finding comfort in that water and to start swimming a little. Lander understands how to play the center position. What he is not accustomed to is the pace, the commitment and the endurance needed to play in the NHL, something that will be cured with experience and desire. Lander understands what his role should be on this Oilers team, but it is now up to him seize that role.
Prediction For 2013 – Will Not Play One Game In Oklahoma City This Season: This is a bold prediction considering how many Oilers forwards are employed that are on one way deals or promised a roster spot. Right now, if you were to look at the Oilers depth chart, Lander would be on the outside looking in. Lander is a very bright player. He will make adjustments, be better prepared and equipped for the upcoming season. The Oilers will need the Lander’s skillset in the very near future.